March 26, 2008,
S.W. asks from Foresthill, CA on February 27, 2008
My Husband Asked Me Not to Call Him at Work
My husband has recently asked me not to call him at work anymore. He says that I need to deal with HOME issues on my own. Which I do for the most part. The problem is though...he is a firefighter and works 48-96 hour shifts. Can you imagine not speaking to your husband for 2 straight days? He wont call home either. He said that he can't make long distance calls from the station. SO yes sometimes by the end of day 2-3 I am exhausted and call to complain/get support. If I do call the station the other guys are very rude and short with me and I know that my husband has told them how I cannot cope and bother him all the time. That is not necessarily true. He also cancelled his cell phone. That was actually about a year ago though. I feel like this is so unfair. We have 3 daughters full-time and occasionally I have his other 2 kids from a previous too. SAHM--yes....Single Mom--No. One final worry is that this is how he treated his ex-wife when he and I began dating. Maybe I am just being paranoid. Any words of wisdom?
***He WAS NOT MARRIED when we were dating...please read the update below for more info. :)
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So What Happened?™
**2/28/2008Thanks for all of the support girls. Let me clarify the he WAS NOT MARRIED when we dated. He was living apart and going thru a nasty divorce. He DID NOT CHEAT. Sorry that was confusing to some of you. OMG I would never allow that to happen. My fear is that he is pulling away and maybe thinking about giving up on the marriage---NOT cheating, I sure hope not anyways. I think I will just give hime some space. I wont call for a while and phone a girlfriend when I need to vent or just wanna chat. I will also try to include him more in the things that the girls and I do. (Yes "5" girls) Maybe he feels a little left out. We get so used to it being just us that we tend to not even ask if he wants to join anymore. I thought that maybe he preferred it that way. Let me work on it for a week or so and I will update then. :)
***So the more I read the more I begin to question it. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to carry a cell phone. He called it a ball & chain and said never again! I thought it was kinda wierd, but now I KNOW it is. Also I have never called the station more than 2x in a day. He used to call me all the time. Now he says he can't call LD and has no cell to call either. He did say I can e-mail him if I need something.
FINAL UPDATE 3-12-08
Not good. He has become a total jerk at this point. He puts me down all of the time and does so in front of my girls. I don't want them growing up believing that this is how a man should treat a woman. He has always been a controlling bastard, so I can't really say this surprises me. But he has never been this cruel. In his words, I am a lazy as* bit*h and a pathetic usesless human being who can't manage my kids and my household let alone survive on my own. Guess that says it all. What a wonderful and loving husband I have. Well anyways, to keep it short and sweet...burn me once shame on you...burn me twice...well you know! Thanks for all of your love and support. -Sher
N.D. answers from San Francisco on February 28, 2008
I have 2 grandsons that are firefighters and married with children. They cannot wait to hear from their wifes and children. This husband needs an attitude adjustment. I do not think it should be an every 1/2 hr. phone call but once a day or evening would be fine. HE SHOULD NOT OBJECT TO THIS AT ALL.
I would like to know what his reason is?
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L.M. answers from Sacramento on February 28, 2008
So isn't it his home too, therefore, home issues are his to deal with also!!!! I'd have a heart to heart and tell him it is part of his responsibility as a husband to support you. If he can't be supportive to his spouse, what't the point of being together? Find out what the real problem is. It sounds like there is more to the issue than phone calls at work. Do you have friends to talk with? Do you have family to talk with? Maybe you need another outlet.
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T.L. answers from San Francisco on February 28, 2008
Have you sat him down and truly talked to him how this makes you feel? I think he might be hiding something. there has to be a reason he is basically shuttin you out.
time to start asking some serious questions.
A.A. answers from Sacramento on March 03, 2008
I can't even begin to pretend to know what your situation is like. All I know is that my wife and I have only our first child, we both work full time, she at her job and myself building my business. Our son alone is a handfull and when I watch him I get nothing done... this is frustrating but he is only 11 months old and still needs the attention (or is it that he just wants to play with dad's computer?). My point is this, my wife and I make sure that we keep a team attitude towards how we raise our son (and any future children).
It appears from what you wrote that you and your husband either don't have your team roles established or have two different ideas of what eachothers roles should be. If you feel that it is safe to have a conversation with your husband about what the roles should be and how your own family team structure is I would suggest trying to have that conversation. I would not bring up your concerns about him cheating on you... yet. First see if he is willing to talk about being a family team.
Be prepared to have your husband tell you that he sees it that you being at home with the children is your "job." And remember that you are at this moment from what I gather by your message a stay at home mother. A very difficult and underpaid position, not to mention under thanked, but can have huge emotional rewards. His "job" is to work very hard and bring home the pay check. While this can be construde as a sexist view point, it depends on whether or not he believes there is no other way for things to be. In other words does he believe that you should not ever consider working outside the home? If he believes that you could work outside the home and this something you want to do then you have to think about how that will effect the rest of the team... your husband's work schedule is not going to be able change given the position he holds. So that will mean that you will not only be working outside the home, but then your current duties of preparing meals and other child care will still need to be performed on the days that your husband is working. Unless your financial position is such that you can afford to hire help.
I personally think it unfair for your husband to expect you to do it all. If after you and your husband have this talk, and you still have the feeling of him cheating on you or you don't see any change (NOTE: it wont all happen at once, we don't work that way most of the time, and we may not change at all without you GENTLY pointing out the things you want us to change)that would be the time to bring up your concerns about that. I hope this helps some.
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R.C. answers from San Francisco on February 27, 2008
How does he treat you when He's home ? you have 3 kids that's alot - & his 2 kids as well - 5 kids ? whoa.
The ex-wife concern may be very valid ? Get the book 'Why does he do that ?' by Lundy Bancroft. If you 'see' your husband in their then you do have alot of work to do.
He needs to respect the fact that it is a partnership and you do need support - No doubt firefighting is stressful - but those guys often have lots of down time.It sounds like he is in a pretty macho environment and he doesn't want to 'pulled' out of it. It is pretty immature not to want to look like you answer to your wife.
Then again can you honestly say you keep good boundries around the calls ?
Can he offer something in exchange - some outside help - more time away for you ?
Does he acknowledge your work and contribution ? That is key.
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C.R. answers from Bakersfield on February 28, 2008
S., I totally feel you. However, my husband does not work away from the home yet when he is at home (late night) he is already drunk or well on his way. Therefore, it is as if he is not there. Due to this situation I too have no one to discuss how the day was or any home or family situations that might need to be dealt with, let alone something that may require a mutual decision from the both of us. My only was of trying to cope with this is to call my best friend who will not judge me in any way even if it does seem that I am complaining all the time. I received this saying a while back and boy does it have some truth...
"Be who you are and say what you feel...
Because those that matter... don't mind...
And those that mind.. don't matter."
Therefore, I suggest that you find someone that you can use as a complaint department or just someone to help you discuss issues you may need help with on make a decision. Make sure it is someone who only wants what is best for you and your children. Second, if you need to start addressing home decisions on your own (bills, kids, home repairs, etc.) then do it and when he asks why you didn't consult with him, you can very calmly explain he was not available and a decision had to be made at that time. Unfortunately, even if I discuss issues that need to be addressed with my husband it is wasted breath due to his clouded head from drinking...even when he is only buzzed it still affects his focus. Be thankful you don't have that too. Lastly, as I just said, thank God every day for the good things you do have! Remember, your kids are healthy and take every chance you get to enjoy them. Get out, discover new things with them. Before you know it, they are gone. Yet, as someone said before, find some time for just you. Have a friend or family watch the kids for a couple of hours so you can clear your head. Even if it is just a warm bubble bath with some nice music, candle light and a glass of wine.
Good luck and I hope and pray good things will come your way!
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J.C. answers from San Francisco on February 27, 2008
Great comments below! And good question about when he is home. Is there a balance, or do you wait on him hand and foot to try to keep the peace? Firefighters are gone for two or three days at a time, but then they are home for two or three days too. Firefighter wives, military wives, all have a special responsibility to the family. As much as he needs to accept that when he goes to work, life at home with three, sometimes five kids does not end, you need to understand too that he at work.
Tread lightly but do not stop talking to him and telling him what you need. Find some time for yourself when he is home so that when he is gone for days at a time you do not go insane. maybe a mommy and me class for you and your three year old, or a pedicure for you and the older girl.
Don’t feel guilty for taking care of you! You have a nine year old who is perfectly capable of helping daddy take care of the others for an afternoon!! And if he wants to complain about it…Ask him how many games of pool, or darts he got in with the guys over the past few days and ask him why you don’t deserve a little play time too.
You need a good girlfriend! Try to talk to and vent most of your frustration out on a friend. Save the BIG stuff for him and don’t forget to tell him about the good days too <GRIN>! Keep up the good work!!
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R.M. answers from Sacramento on February 28, 2008
Get the following books by Dr. Laura:
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage
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K.B. answers from Merced on March 02, 2008
Hey S., You have received a ton of wise advice. I can only echo what has been said. Listen to your gut, it's usually right. I am a PCF firefighter, and while our general policy is no personal,long distance calls during hours from the office phone, unless an emergency, personal calls made with cell phones, usually short and sweet, or phone cards are fine, after hours from the office phone within reason. Our chief is very encouraging about keeping the home fires burning, staying in touch with kids and wives, etc. And fyi, there is a ton of down time, and the guys all make calls at various times during the day, especially if a child has a special event they've missed. Not one of our guys would think of any teasing etc. not even the younger single guys that are still into the juvenille macho stuff, that the more mature guys are past. I would also encourage you to get Dr. Laura's book, set up your own financial accts. and seek marriage counceling. I have also seen many marriages fail through the years with the beginings starting like you stated. Fire fighters job is very high stress, especially depending on the location of the station and the numbers of runs per shift. Fire fighters hae a very high divorce rate, as do most emergency service workers jobs. You really need to be thinking of how to best take care of yourself and your girls. If your dh chooses to continue the journey with you great. If He chooses not to then at least your better prepared. Being a christian, I do not encourage you to head for divorce yet while keeping that one eye open see the reality of what your circumstances are and without changes where it's heading.hugs
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R.T. answers from San Francisco on February 28, 2008
First off, I think it is unreasonable that your husband does not want you to call him at work, that is if you are not calling him 3 plus times a day to complain about the kids. Would he agree to 1 or 2 times a day that he can call you at specific times? Also, if you are babysitting "his kids" from a previous marriage when he is at work, I am wondering why he does not arrange for them to visit while he is at home. I don't think it is particularly unfair to you to babysit while he is away. After all, the purpose of those children coming into your home is to spend some time wit their Dad, right?
I also have concerns with your comment about how he treated his ex. In my own personal experience, it is a big red flag when a man bad mouths or treats an ex bad. It will only be a matter of time before he does that to his current partner. I have experienced this with my ex, in how he treated and talked about his ex at the time we got together. Then after a number of years, he treated me that way and he intitated a divorce which became very ugly and soon he was saying the same things about me as he said about the ex he had when we got together. Now he is geting divorced for a third time and is saying the same things about the woman who he is currently divorcing.
If you decide you want to divorce him you should keep quiet about it and plan for it. He sounds like the kind of man that would create big problems in a divorce situation. I encourage you to open a savings account for yourself (whether you want to stay married to him and his job with good benefits or not) and do not tell hime about it. You need to save enough money so that if you decide to leave him you will have the means to escape with your kids and obtain legal counsel without being intimidated by him. In other words, stash a minimum of $6000-8000. You can do this. Just start cutting little expenses and start stashing. Don't ever tell him about it, no matter what. If you stay with him, and he turns out to be a nice life partner, when the kids are grown and he retires you can tell him you were saving for a surprise, or else you can still have your stash an do whatever you choose to do with it. Just make sure that you claim your own personal power and don't let him or anyone else push you into doing anything you don't want to do. If he does not meet your needs and you have tried every avenue that you can think of to build the relationship to a healthy, mutual level, then make plans to get rid of him!
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J.I. answers from Bakersfield on February 28, 2008
I know it may hurt...to be asked not to call! You have two challenges I see: first, he's a guy. Truthfully, they have a hard time doing more than one thing at a time. When he is at work, his brain is focused on Work. When you call and have a home concern, there is a total train wreck in his brain and it can totally mess him up...he doesn't know how he can help From There at Work. Being a Guy, he thinks he has to Fix It Now. It does not naturally occur to him that he could say "Honey, I am so sorry you are tired and burnt out. When I come home, I will brainstorm with you about who you can call for (whatever:play dates, child care trade off, etc.) For now, just know that I love you and appreciate you. Ooops, gotta go put that fire out and risk my life AGAIN today! Talk to you when I get home." You know your second challenge is that his line of work takes him away for so long. I strongly suggest these ideas: Swallow your pride and hurt, and do what he requests. Don't call at work unless there is an emergency. After awhile he may even miss you. But your calling may put added stress, embarassment and confusion on his already heavy load. Next, find another mom friend you can gain support from and give support to. Even for us moms who have husbands that come home every night, we cannot just launch into a tirade about the day when he comes home. No. The dinner is usually ready, and when he walks in the door my attitude is "HI, I am glad you are home." and I let him tell me about his day. Second, see if you can e-mail him there ONLY to tell him fun, cute, amusing things that happened to you or the kids during the day. Phase two (that is 4 weeks later) you might consider calling him the night or morning before he is due to come home and tell him he is a Major Stud. End of conversation. He will be confused the first 19 times you do this, first wondering who you are and then wondering what the catch is. Act like his confusion doesn't bother you. He can't help it. Only do this once a week or so. Phase 3 is to call and if he doesn't answer the phone, leave a message with whoever does: "Yes, this is S.. I have a very important message for my husband. Please make sure he gets this. Tell him he is a Major Stud. Yes, thank you." Don't over-do this. Just maybe once a week at the most. By the way, don't worry how he used to treat anybody else a long time ago. You and he are different together because you are different than "her." We women want emotional support, genuine understanding and appreciation. But we cannot control or demand certain behaviors or feelings from anyone, even our husbands. So we work on ourselves and can be proud of the good job we are doing regardless. Then, low and behold, when we have become happy, interesting, independent people who enjoy life, they want to be with us, want to know us more. Show your appreciation for him. Think about (anything) he does for you or others and tell him thank you. I know whereof I speak. My husband of 22 years has worked for a children's summer camp year round for 19 years, and is gone for ALL SUMMER. I can drive up to camp if I want, or leave slightly racy phone messages to make him laugh. But I live leaning on God, waiting for my husband to come home no matter what the season. I have started my own art business, and am involved with church and community things. Don't give up. It is so worth it to build a history together. It is work. That is not a bad thing. Well, have a good day. J.
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